NEW YORK (AP) – Jeff McNeil started a homer in the ninth inning on his 29th birthday, and the New York Mets took the winning run on a controversial pitch hit for a bizarre 3-2 home win over the Miami Marlins on Thursday.
With the bases loaded and one out, a shuffling Michael Conforto appeared to stick his right elbow pad out just enough to be grazed by a 2-1 ball from Anthony Bass that appeared to be in the hitting zone.
The record referee and crew chief Ron Kulpa initially signaled a strike, then quickly decided that Conforto had been hit from the field. Conforto made his way to first base when Luis Guillorme scored a goal and the Mets celebrated a comeback win in front of the first crowd at Citi Field 557 days ago.
Marlin’s player and manager Don Mattingly discussed with Kulpa before a retest was initiated. The review took 58 seconds and the call was confirmed.
According to baseball rules, the field of play should be called a stroke when a batsman is hit by a field in the strike zone.
However, under the replay rules, there is no video verification that the field of play was in the strike zone or that the batsman made an attempt to get out of the way. These are referee decisions. It is only possible to check whether the ball has touched the batsman.
The official statement from the repeat manager in Manhattan read: “After the repeat officer looked at all relevant angles, he finally determined that the ball had hit the batsman. The call is confirmed, it is a Pitch hit. ”
Edwin Diaz (1-0) worked with a hit inning in his first start of the season.
Bass (0-2) missed both of his chances with the Marlins (1-6) and lost both games. McNeil finished ninth and sent a 3-1 pitch to the second deck in the right field. He tossed his club aside and turned to face the Mets’ bank before rounding the bases.
A moment later in the underbrush, Pete Alonso turned up the sold-out crowd of 8,492 people, with capacity limited to 20% at Citi Field due to COVID-19 regulations as the Mets rebounded. Guillorme hit a pinch hit infield single with an out and moved up to third when Brandon Nimmo (three hits) scored his second double of the day.
Francisco Lindor, who went 3-1 on his home debut at the Mets, was deliberately run to load the bases. An inflated Lindor gestured to spur Conforto, who stranded nine runners in a 5-0 win during Wednesday’s Philadelphia defeat and drew boos at the home fans when he came to a double game at the inning end in the seventh
New York had only managed four hits against four Marlins pitchers, who finished in ninth place.
Corey Dickerson scored a double and Jesús Aguilar had a starting single in the sixth against starter Taijuan Walker, who didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning of an impressive Mets debut.
Walker was charged with two runs and four hits in six innings. He turned down four.
With the bases loaded in the fifth, Starling Marte held the marlins tight with a jumping catch on the midfield fence of Dominic Smith’s sacrificial fly.
Marlins: C Jorge Alfaro was tight in his left achilles tendon. With an open date on Friday, Mattingly said the team would give Alfaro consecutive days off in hopes of resolving the issue. Chad Wallach started at Catcher for the second game in a row.
Mets: RHP Dellin Betances went on the 10-day list of injured with a right shoulder impact. New York selected RHP Trevor Hildenberger to their major league roster, adding him to a bullpen who struggled in the first three games of the season in Philadelphia. … Jonathan Villar started at 3B for JD Davis, who was eliminated from the line-up for the second time in a row with an injured left hand. Davis left the game Tuesday night after being hit in the hand by a fastball traveling at 91 mph. Mets manager Luis Rojas wasn’t sure if Davis would be available from the bank.
Marlins: LHP Trevor Rogers (0-1, 4.50 ERA), who was drafted 13th overall in 2017, takes the ball on Saturday for his ninth career start. The 23-year-old Rogers made his big league debut at Citi Field last August and clinched his only win there six days later. He allowed two runs over nine innings against the Mets last season, hitting eleven.
Mets: With Friday’s day off, the Mets will skip a fifth starter and return to Ace Jacob deGrom for regular rest when the three-game streak resumes on Saturday. The two-time Cy Young Award winner fired six innings at the start of the late season in Philadelphia on Monday, only to see the Bullpen take two lead in the 5-3 defeat in New York. In 26 career starts against Miami, deGrom is 10-8 with a 3.00 ERA. He has not allowed more than one run in 86 of his 184 major league starts (46.7%), most in a pitcher’s first 184 games since 1901.